Problems with Financing on the US Photovoltaic Market
Bonn / San José. According to the participants of the 6th Briefing and Networking Forum in San José, 20 to 30 percent of persons in the US potentially interested in a photovoltaic system decide against an installation because they lack the appropriate financial resources. The expiry of the Treasury Grant Plan (TGP), which was designed to help in the subvention of renewable energies, at the end of 2011, is bound to create more difficulties for the financing of systems in the second half of 2012. During the networking event, the podium speakers and participants discussed possible solutions for companies in the industry to support potential investors.
Possibility of Financing Photovoltaic Systems via Third Parties
The well-attended networking event of Joint Forces for Solar on 19th March once again brought together numerous manufacturers, distributors and local installers. Taking part in the podium discussion were Willis He (CSUN), Nick Chaset (Q.Cells), Amy Reardon (CPUC), Matthias Altieri (Thomas Lloyd) and Randy Zechmann (CALSEIA). Together with visitors, they discussed developments on the Californian and American photovoltaic market. According to several industry representatives, various solar companies are currently exploring the possibilities of having photovoltaic systems financed by third parties.
Financing options by third parties are available from solar lease programs of manufacturers and further suppliers or power purchase agreements to possibilities provided by investment banks and stocks. But from the installers and project developers’ perspective this often leads to further complexity and fluctuant system prices. However, they also emphasized that these financing problems cannot be solved by short term measures, but that success is expected in the mid-term.
The next important topic of discussion was the increase of the net metering cap for Californian energy providers. The government recently increased the previous cap of 2.5% to 5%. During the event, Amy Reardon, manager of CPUC‘s CSI program, mentioned that the 2.5% cap had potentially already been reached. The commission is currently evaluating the economic effects and is therefore already working on alternative mechanisms for a further development.
“Both the visitors and the podium participants were confronted with several difficult questions today“ said Daniela Schreiber, executive vice president of Hoehner Research and Consulting Corporation, who moderated the Forum, “The main focus of the event lay in the financing of photovoltaic systems. Easier access to capital plays an important role for market development in the future. However, the challenge provides a multitude of possibilities for innovative business concepts for active market participants as well as newcomers from other industries. This will be visible in the coming months”, Schreiber comments.
The event organizers were for the most part satisfied with the Forum and noticed a general optimism among the participants. Now that a solid infrastructure has been created, the industry now has to deal with new challenges, such as the cap on net metering. There is much enthusiasm and will within the branch to overcome these problems, but this is often curbed by inappropriate and long legal frameworks.
The event organizers would especially like to thank the Premium sponsor CSUN, the Gold sponsor Q.Cells and the event partners CALSEIA and the German American Chamber of Commerce, as well as the media partners Renewable Energy World, PV-Tech.org, pv magazine; Sun & Wind Energy and SolarPV.TV.
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Joint Forces for Solar
Joint Forces for Solar is a global synergy of stakeholders along the solar value chain. It brings grass-roots knowledge and know-how to a global dimension. A local goes global strategy takes the first hand, insider information installers gain when dealing with customers on a daily basis and utilizes it to shape the future direction of the solar industry. In return, global goes local, installers benefit from access to information on the latest technological developments and changes in market trends giving them the competitive edge necessary for long-term success.
The initiative builds a bridge between the individual links of the value chain and offers a platform where opinions, ideas and expertise can be shared that ultimately strengthen the industry going forward.